“You don’t really love me.”
“You don’t care about anything that matters to me – you only think about yourself.”
These are all examples of what we call MIND READING. Mind reading is when we dictated the thoughts, motives or intentions of our mate. In essence it’s attempting to play God by claiming to know the intent of our spouse’s heart and mind. This is dangerous ground for a marriage because of the tremendous frustration and conflict it creates. (Indeed it is one of the leading conflict styles that is used to predict divorce.)
- Setting a GROUND RULE that both you and your mate get to speak for yourselves, (and not say what each other is thinking).
- Agree to CONFRONT the MIND READING any time that it comes up. It might sound like this: “I know that you don’t want me to tell you what you are thinking, and I’d appreciate it if you’d let me say what my feelings and intentions are about… thanks.”
- Let it be OK for you to DOUBT each other’s intentions, but NOT to DICTATE your partner’s intentions. Doubting says, “It’s difficult for me to believe that you respect me when you joke about me in front of other people. You say I mean everything to you, but when you talk like that in front of others, it makes me feel that you really don’t think much of me.” (This is very different from MIND READING that might say, “You think I’m a piece of trash – you only care about yourself and your big ego.”)
- Pray with your spouse and ask God to give both of you the wisdom and strength to stop judging and to address the problems at hand.
Scripture teaches us that only God knows the heart …
“Forgive, and deal with each man according to all he does, since You (God) know his heart (for You alone know the hearts of men)” 2 Chronicles 6:30
And that it is God’s job to judge the heart…
“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:5
Jesus warned about over focusing on other people’s problems to the point of not being able to see our own short comings. "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.” Luke 6:41-42
What do couples say when they get rid of MIND READING from their marriage?
“I felt like there was nothing I could do to help our marriage – I couldn’t win.
"Now we’re getting along.”
“We now have peace.”
“I feel like we respect each other now.”
by Dr. Kevin Downing, LMFT
Co-Founder of Turning Point Counseling
Dr. Downing is available to see clients at the Fullerton office. Call 1-800-998-6329 today to schedule an appointment! We have over 20 locations in southern California.
The information provided in this website is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician, other mental health care professional, or financial advisor. You should not use the information in this website for diagnosis or treatment of any health, mental health problem, prescription of any medication or other treatment, or financial advice.
Turning Point Counseling
1370 N. Brea Blvd., Ste. 245 ~ Fullerton ~ CA ~ 92835